France… a wonderfully inspiring land of design, fashion, and perceived elegance. A name or place, that if mentioned, a vibe of sophistication and class may come to mind. Modern French-inspired interior design is not any different from this feeling and style. The Parisian style is a sought-after design scheme, not only in France but all over the world. It’s associated with being chic, yet very simple! French interiors are just as much about design as they are lifestyle, which is the key thing to remember while reading through this article.

French inspired design gives you the flexibility to mix modern and classic styles together while walking the line of being chic, without being overdone.

Hence our focus is on “French February”. Enjoy the following french inspired interior design ideas.

Respect French history

In France, the ages-old architecture is very prominent. Each apartment or older home has its own interesting story and specific charm which demands a certain amount of respect. Good design should work to bring together the elegance and iconic character of the space with simple and practical luxury.

We particularly love this historic and rustic Parisian kitchen space that is the epitome of chic and simple. This stunning kitchen features a large fireplace that adds so much character!

French Inspired Open Kitchen Design
Image: Château de Moissac

Avoid neutral colors

Although the French do have an infinity for chic all-white interior, splashing in color is how they are able to make the transition between the old and the new. There really are no rules when it comes to color in French-inspired interior design. They like to blend colors, time periods, and just about any style that suits their fancy. What could really be more French than that?

For example, look at this brutally French, modern white room space accented by bold splashes of yellow by Wink Deco, a contemporary French interior design blog.

French design with a splash of yellow color
No Rules. Image by Wink Deco

Go all in for ‘anti-decor’

This leads us to our next recommendation of going against the grain. Why not adopt the idea of an extremely eclectic approach? This one can be difficult for many people; how do you piece it together? Moreover, how do you keep it classy when the room is not perfectly put together? It’s easy to enter the land of clutter and make some common interior design mistakes.

Try putting things together that shouldn’t be together in the first place, says designer Jean-Louis Deniot. In this below image featured on Elledecor, Deniot says the entire idea is anti-decor – “to make it look like the owner did it themself; to make it look natural. Which, of course, of very French”.

Anti-decor French inspired design
Image: Simon Upton for Elledecor

Heed advice from French fashion

For French design, it’s all about mastering a mix of cultures, eras, textures, and colors. A designer or eye with good taste can find objects that speak to one another no matter where or when they were created. As disheveled as they are elegant, French interior is neither too curated nor too perfect.

Keep it simple, mix new items with vintage and bring your memories and treasures brought from your life experiences and travels into the space. The result should be elegant but not intimidating. A place, perhaps, that no one will ever want to leave.

French fashion inspired living room design. Mix the old with the new
Image: Architectural Digest – Deborah French

Recycle and reuse design elements

A popular trend around the world is an ideal that has been with the French for generations. Reuse and recycle. Spend some time looking in second-hand shops to find the perfect pieces. Decorating in a sustainable and ecological way can also be very mentally inspiring. Reusing and reinventing purpose for elements of decoration and design should be a part of your process, especially if they’ve come from your own heritage or family.

The below image shows a print of an illustration by Alice Wietzel with two vintage vases that she found in Bordeaux and St. Malo and a cupboard found in her neighborhood. How chic is this?

Illustration by French illustrator Alice Wietzel
Image: Alice Wietzel in Elle Decor

About Modern French Design

These design trends might not be what you expected. We are all very in tune with the luxurious and elegant off-white French backdrops that come with Paris hotels and fine dining establishments. These trends begin with the classic French interior design, which is one of the most famous styles worldwide. It has many styles within Baroque, Rococo, Empire, and other styles. People worldwide have come to admire the glamour and classiness associated with these styles.

The heavily decorated and extravagant looks, however, have become out of date. That’s why modern French interior design came into existence. It has both, the glamour of the old, and the minimalism of the new. It gives you the flexibility to mix modern and classic styles together while walking the line of being chic, without being overdone.

Trends may come and go in politics, fashion, decor, culinary arts – you name it. The fundamentals of life, however, will always remain dependable and rooted deeply in our minds. There is a French saying “Plus ca change, plus c’est la méme chose”, which means “the more things change, the more they stay the same.

This could not be more true than in the French culture and design style.

Tiffany Hanken Design

Having married into a French family, I have a certain love for French-inspired design. Being an interior designer, the styles and ideas really resonate with me. When one of my clients expresses their desire to implement a French theme into their home and life, I am overcome with design inspiration and joy as the creative juices begin to flow. For more ideas on French-inspired interior design or to begin your project today, contact Tiffany Hanken Interior Design.